"We are grateful that in our services, we can draw upon their strength, their generosity of spirit, their sense of self-sacrifice and their love of the other."
Veterans and residents gathered at Calf Pasture Beach Sunday to honor two of Norwalk's fallen sons.
"We do this every year not only to honor Daniel Shea and John Magrath, but the other 171 names that are on this memorial here," said Daniel Caporale, Chairman on the Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee.
"John Magrath ran towards danger in World War II. Dan Shea pulled five of his commrades from danger in Vietnam," said Mayor Harry Rilling.
Cadet Johanna Arias was this year's student speaker. Cadet Arias is the Commanding Officer of the Brien McMahon High School Navy JROTC. "My challenge to the youth of Norwalk is to recognize the examples from the past such as those made by these two heroic soliders and those who set the example every day. Be involved in your community and be aware. If a sacrifice needs to be made, don't look around for someone else. Look at the person in the mirror and step up and make the sacrifice yourself. As we say in our cadet creed, "I am the future of America,"" said Arias.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Killackey served as this year's keynote speaker. Retiring in 2005 from United States Marine Corps, Killackey is now a teacher at Brien McMahon High School and the leader of the Navy JROTC program. "If you even look and realize that Shea and Magrath were 19 and 22 respectively [when they served] and were both from East Norwalk, they were both involved in the outdoors and the Boy Scouts and things of that nature. Youth involvement and the character that is built there and the things that you learn carry over into the rest of your life. In their case it was exemplified on the battlefield. In the case of the JROTC Cadets at Norwalk High and Brien McMahon High School in the Navy and Air Force programs, they are learning and they are exposed to peer leadership situations every single day, which is invaluable."
"I know a few names on that wall, and I will tell you one thing. I will never forget. I will always remember. Always," concluded Caporale.